The safety of the campus of Robert Morris University is headed for a bumpy road with students and faculty concerned.
As the amount of students attending RMU each year increases, the amount of cars and pedestrians on campus increases as well. This influx in enrollment at RMU has also led to an increased concern about the safety of the roads on campus. John Turchek, department head of communication and information systems, has been a faculty member of RMU for over 43 years. He explained how he has become concerned about student safety on campus over the past few years.
“I don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” Turchek said regarding to the roads on campus.
According to the police blotter, from Aug. 3 to Sept. 21, there were two car accidents on campus. Additionally, public safety has stopped three cars for failure to use a turn signal and another 12 cars for failure to stop at a stop sign. Of those incidents, four drivers had a suspended license or didn’t own one, five cars had invalid insurance or none at all and two cars were cited for careless driving.
“In my opinion, I think there is a tremendous amount of problems on campus with not just speeding, but just total traffic violations,” Public Safety Chief Randy Mink said. “Running stop signs, not knowing the rules set and established for pedestrian crosswalks, those types of things.”
In addition to these types of issues, another big issue that has arisen is the concern with the speed limit on campus. With the speed limit for the Robert Morris campus being 25 mph, it is unusually high, especially compared to other Pittsburgh area college campuses. The campuses at Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg are all set at 15 mph.
Mink does not believe that 25 mph is the best choice for the speed limit on campus, but he also feels that reducing the speed limit might not resolve the issue.
“It’s probably too high,” Mink said. “But if I were to lower it, I’m still going to have the people violating it.”
In regards to the topography of RMU’s campus, there numerous hills on campus which create steep slopes and snaking turns on campus roads. Additionally, there are 22 crosswalks that are spread out across campus. These crosswalks create a myriad of scenarios where students have to cross the roads on campus while avoiding traffic.
Suzie Harrison, a commuter student, feels that the speed limit is “just too fast.”
“Sometimes when I stand near a crosswalk, I feel nervous about crossing because I worry the traffic won’t stop because they are driving so fast,” said Harrison.
Harrison further explained that this concern is increased when switching classes because students are using the crosswalks to go from class to class while commuters are arriving on campus and looking for parking spots.
There are some suggestions that are thought to be possible solutions for the concern of student safety on the roads. While lowering the speed limit is main solution, others have be brought up. Turchek mentioned the idea of placing speed bumps across campus roads to deter people from speeding.
Mink also thought of a similar idea and would like to see other changes to the campus, but understands that those changes won’t come cheap.
“I would like to see speed humps on campus, I would like to see raised crosswalks on campus, those types of things,” said Mink. “And adding safety to the campus itself. Although I know there is a dollar sign that goes with some of that.”